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2015 Venture Challenge to begin

By: Daily Record Staff//December 29, 2014

2015 Venture Challenge to begin

By: Daily Record Staff//December 29, 2014//

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The Rochester Venture Challenge, formerly known as the Rochester Regional Business Plan Contest, will begin accepting applications on Jan. 2, 2015.

The goal of the venture challenge is to encourage entrepreneurship among those who enter while recognizing and rewarding the most promising new ventures and start-up companies in the nine-county Finger Lakes Region. Companies compete by submitting an executive summary and giving an investor presentation.

The challenge enables early stage for-profit companies to go through a 4-week process that gives company leaders valuable insights into what makes a viable executive summary and then how to best make a pitch to potential investors. Workshops are led by area business leaders and entrepreneurs with start-up experience and accomplishment; they offer participants first-hand feedback and individual help.

Online registration opens on Jan. 2, 2015, and goes thru Jan. 23, 2015. The registration fee is $150 per company and includes participation of two company representatives in the preparatory workshops. The online application form is available at

Workshops will be held on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. at the High Tech Rochester offices in Henrietta on Jan. 28 and Feb. 4, 11 and 18.

Semi-finalists will refine their summaries and pitches throughout March, and finalists will be selected by early April. The finalists will present on the morning of April 17, 2015, immediately prior to the 7th Annual Celebration of Entrepreneurship Luncheon, where the winners will be announced.

The first place winner receives a $25,000 cash prize plus marketing and business incubation services. Second and third-place winners receive smaller amounts of cash and services. The runners-up receive marketing and business services.

Companies interested in entering should have a scalable business concept with high growth potential. Companies must be early-stage, as defined at the time of application by having less than $250,000 of outside cash investment and less than $500,000 in cumulative revenue (excluding research grants).

The Rochester Venture Challenge is open to for-profit companies headquartered in the nine-county Finger Lakes Region:  Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates counties. Students currently enrolled in a college or university within the region are also eligible to enter. Prior first place winners of the contest are not eligible to compete.



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